Vacating Awards

Now that Ryan Braun is officially a scumbag (now there’s a really scientific term) some people want to take away his MVP Award. I remember the same thing happening when Ken Caminiti came clean (OK, it’s a bad joke) about juicing and the same kind of thing happened. there seem to be three options running around. Some thoughts on each.

1. Take the award away and give it to the runner-up. Are you kidding? What makes anyone think the runner-up isn’t guilty of the same offense? Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. But in this age of PEDs, how exactly do you tell?

2. Vacate the award. This means you simply take away the award and don’t hand it out that year, which is kind of like saying that Gone With The Wind shows the KKK favorably and we can’t have that, so the Best Picture Award for 1939 goes to no one. The problem with this is that it completely downgrades the other players. “Sorry, no one but Joe Scumbag was good enough to win the award this year and he’s a jerk so he can’t win it.” Really?

3. Leave it alone. Thank you, rational people. Look, I think Braun and the other PED boys are first rate jerks, but you can’t just go around taking awards away because we decide they broke some sort of code. If you do that how far back do you go? Barry Bonds used steroids in his final four MVPs, therefore he’s a jerk. And we can’t have a jerk winning an MVP so we take away the other three he won back before we suspect he was juicing. That’s silly, isn’t it? Besides, where do you stop and what kind of offenses are to be included? Is Cobb to be stripped of his Chalmers (bet they won’t be able to find the car) because he was a racist and we think that’s just awful?

There’s an article on that mentions some bigwig in Tulsa, Oklahoma who was a Klansman in the 19-teens and ’20s (when a whole lot of people were) and has a street and a couple of buildings named after him. Some want to take his name off those things (especially the street) because he was a Klansman. Others argue that it makes his KKK membership define him and that he was more than just a Klansman, he was a real civic leader. The article is worth reading even though it isn’t about sports. Don’t know what’s right there, but it does seem to me that baseball is in the same fix. We’ve decided that certain conduct (PED use) is offensive and players should be punished for doing it. Fine by me. But don’t be vacating or stripping awards. Don’t forget that some of them, like Caminiti’s, will be posthumous, and the guy has no chance to defend himself.

Obviously I favor leaving the awards alone but I understand those who don’t. Feel free to disagree.

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7 Responses to “Vacating Awards”

  1. Kevin Graham Says:

    Leave the awards as they are, except maybe attach some kind of codicil. “This player has been identified as a PED user during his career.” Highlight it with a big scarlet letter.


  2. William Miller Says:

    You make a lot of sense. Here’s something else, though. Maybe MLB should get out of the law-enforcement / investigation business, and work harder to actually try to promote the game. I realize this is all about Selig doing what he can to change the way he will most likely be remembered in baseball history (as the commissioner who turned a blind eye to cheaters for over a decade), but I think he’s inadvertently undermining the game itself every time his henchman root out another cheater. We’re in the middle of a fun and exciting season, and now all that anyone is talking about is Braun and PED’s (again.) From a business standpoint, how does this get more asses into the seats? Answer: It doesn’t. It only serves to buttress the cynics who believe “they’re all cheaters.” Let the Feds handle this, if they care to, and get on with the game itself.

  3. W.k. kortas Says:

    I mostly agree with what Bill is saying; Selig has, over the years, oscillated between mildly mishandling the PED issue and spectacularly bungling the PED issue. It seems that there is finally some buy-in from the MLBPA as far as having serious consequences for using PEDs, and I suppose some of that comes from pressure from the Commisioner, and if so, well, so good. I agree with Bill that the Biogenesis thing has cast a shadow upon and upstaged an exciting season, and that is a bad thing in the short-term. That said, I think in the longer term, this is an issue that the game needs to put to bed, and I think this is a step in that direction.

    As far as vacating awards, it’s the kind of stupidity that is the hallmark of the Selig Era. Vacting batting titles and MVP awards? That’s not closing the barn door after the horse has gotten out–that’s closing the barn door after the horse has gotten out, died of old age, and been turned into dog food.

  4. Glen Russell Slater Says:

    What’s so exciting about this season, really? Major league baseball today, for the most part, is dull as dishwater. Yes, and the steroid era helped to ruin it. The tickets are unbelievably expensive because they pay these morons such obscenely grand contracts. The televised games are dull because of big-mouth, egotistical announcers who don’t realize that television has pictures, and that they don’t have to tell everything about every aspect of the game that they’re announcing. There’s no excuse for this. They should watch a televised game announced by Red Barber; the way that he announced on the radio and the way that he announced on television was totally different. And television was NEW, then; yet, Barber knew when to keep his mouth shut and let the pictures speak for themselves. The “color commentator” analyzes every aspect of the game to death. The game itself has become dull. “Pitch counts”, relief pitchers coming in to face one batter, games going on for four hours. Hardly any complete games. There is nothing scientific about “pitch counts”; in fact, when you sarcastically said that “scumbag” is a scientific term, well, you might have something there, compared to the term “pitch count”. There is NO evidence that there is any proof that “pitch counts” are based in any fact whatsoever. And, at the very least, “scumbags” do prevent pregnancies, and that has been proven. Pitch counts? I’d like to see some scientific proof.

    I also think that they’re giving jerks like Braun a slap on the wrist. They should be banned PERMANENTLY from baseball, just as Pete Rose was.

    Take away their award or NOT take away their award? I say take it away; it sets a good example.

    But they can call Barry Bonds the “all-time home run champ” until the cows come home. I don’t care. In my mind, the champ in that department will be Henry Aaron, and will continue to be until someone breaks his record without help from steroids.


    • verdun2 Says:

      It’s strange about the “all-time home run champ” debate. I have to acknowledge Bonds as the man with the most home runs, but I feel no “honor” towards him. I still “honor” Hank Aaron as the “all-time home run champ”. It’s a fine distinction, a mostly semantic one, and probably has meaning only to me, but it’s how I distinguish between the men (as I do with Bonds, McGwire, Sosa and Roger Maris).
      Thanks for reading, Glen.

    • W.k. kortas Says:

      Glen, that’s an interesting point about today’s announcers; they tend to talk when they really should let the action on the field tell the story, not to mention that they are almost without exception the type of homers that would not have been tolerated a generation ago. The old adage “no cheering in the press box” is long forgotten, and that is a shame.

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